Roman Road is delighted to present The truth is out there, a solo exhibition by British artist Bex Massey. Featuring her largest and first autobiographical series, the show teems with reimagined narratives exploring Queer history and identity, mediated through ostensibly fan art paintings.
Taking its title from the tagline of the iconic paranormal television series, The X-Files, The truth is out there presents an intimate and thought-provoking look into the subjection and struggles of the LGBTQ+ community. Documenting and evoking feelings of otherness and alienable rights in her own search for the truth, Massey’s works more specifically aim to examine Section 28 – a reviled law existing from 1988-2003 across Britain that forbade local authorities and schools from promoting homosexuality – and its impact on the Millennial generation. Reappropriating recognisable pop icons and motifs from the 90’s into often surreal and hyperrealistic renderings, the artist takes us back to the memories and retro palettes of her childhood in a bid to instigate a nostalgic and relatable visual language to discuss these issues with levity.
Seemingly at odds with her contemporary subject matter, Massey’s virtuosic brushwork emulates the precision of the Old Masters and her practice is rooted in traditional making techniques. She uses collage, mixed media and optical illusion to create multi-layered narratives through each piece, with some also making subtle yet insightful references to art history. In Plus One (2022), for example, Massey has employed a ‘cut-out’ style redolent of surrealist artist René Magritte, delineating the outline of the gures found in Cupid Wounding Sappho, a drawing by Victorian sculptor John Gibson (bequeathed to the RA Collection in 1866) who was known to channel same-sex passions into his works. Similarly, in ‘Jose Chung’s from outer space’ (2021), Massey pays homage to the esteemed and openly homosexual Florentine painter Sandro Botticelli and his The Birth Of Venus (mid-1480s). Bringing together the past, the peculiar and the personal, Massey’s works meticulously examine the relevance and role of painting as a vehicle for communication and change in the face of popular culture.
50 Golborne Road
London W10 5PR